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Talking Biotech: Why Irish scientist Rosalind Franklin didn’t get the credit she deserved for the discovery of the structure of DNA

The race to determine the structure of DNA has a dark subtext that is frequently ignored when discussing this seminal discovery in biology. Competing groups at Cambridge and King’s College set their sights on resolving this important question. King’s College recruited a bright young x-ray crystalographer, a scientist that used energy to examine molecular structure. Her name was Dr. Rosalind Franklin. While teams in this old-boy’s network pushed forward, Franklin used her skills to generate data to answer the question. Her data would provide the information needed to determine the structure of DNA. However, she was not credited beyond a tiny footnote, and died at 37 never realizing how her data illuminated the discovery of DNA’s double-helical structure. The story is told by Dr. Mark Lawler of Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Related article:  From GMOs to CRISPR: Making sense of how genetic engineering tweaks nature

Dr. Lawler’s article in The Conversation

Dr. Lawler’s accompanying article in The Irish Times

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Follow Kevin Folta on Twitter @kevinfolta | Facebook: Facebook.com/kmfolta/ | Lab website: Arabidopsisthaliana.com | All funding: Kevinfolta.com/transparency

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